You’ve come to the right place.
West Knoxville is the place to be - it’s where all the growth is currently occuring with new houses and condominiums are being planned daily. Construction here is much slower than in Atlanta, however, and that includes both commercial, residential, and (especially) road construction. Projects that will take two weeks in Decatur will take two years in Knoxville. No shiite - I’m not joking.
I would kind of call Knoxville “Atlanta Lite” - definitely a New South city, probably in a comparable level of development that Atlanta was in 1970. The medical industry is huge here with a large E. Tennessee regional hospital system based in K’ville - the number of doctors and specialists is staggering. This might be because of the nuclear facilities at Oak Ridge, just 20 odd miles away by highway. :eek:
The University is also a big employer and exerts a large cultural influence on the city - doings at UT (especially football games) dominate every element of town life, from the clothes people wear to eating patterns at local restaurants. You cannot escape the Volunteers here in Knoxville, it is impossible. Being a UGA fan myself, I find it quite easy resting in the lions den knowing that UT is 0-for-the-Millennium against the mighty DAWGS in mens football.
This town is very provincial, but it is noticably less so than even 1998 - a lot of “outsiders” (my term) are moving in town and the local character is being changed, diluted. I myself know a minimum of 9 people who have moved from Atlanta to Knoxville within the past decade, 10 counting you. But still… just a year ago the lead story in the 5:00pm local broadcast was a fist fight between two high school kids “which drew blood” the reporter hurredly added. :rolleyes:
This town has money. I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s there. When you move here drive the following roads (use a map):
Kingston Pike, from downtown south until you leave Farragut.
Northshore Dr, from Kingston Pike to Concord Rd. Right on Concord Road until you hit Kingston Pike again.
Lyons Bend Rd, from Northshore to Duncan Rd, right on Duncan Rd, left on Babbet (from memory). This is a fun drive, one that you will enjoy if you like twists and turns among a very hilly, tree-filled drive. If you can hit some of the parts of the roads just right you can feel your stomach drop. There’s some pretty good driving on Knoxville roads… except for the damn Knoxvillians, that is. :mad:
Broadway, from Downtown to the rural areas. The poor side of town.
Housing: There are a lot of condos in K’ville as there are an increasing number of retirees in town. Housing is not that cheap compared to Atlanta due to the amount of landscaping that needs to be done to create a plot of land flat enough for a house - Knoxville is in the Appalachians in a way that Atlanta is not, and natural flat spaces are very scarce. You might want to look into renting a condo, if possible.
Weather: I think from March until November that Knoxville is the prettiest place I have ever lived. The combination of blue skies, sunlight, and the diversity of greenery appeal to me in a way that not even Atlanta did (and I liked Atlanta). However, November through March can be the most dreadfully dreary winter you can have without a constant worry of snow. Constantly cloudy, rainy, misty, the weather is a total blah for a 3-5 month period. If you have Seasonal Adjustment Disorder (?) Knoxville might be a bit rough in the winter. I know it effects me and the wife.
People (natives): Knoxville is one of the whiter cities I’ve lived in, with almost 90% of the entire county being Caucasian. I find the people to be a bit more straightforward than what I was used to in Atlanta, and the sort of sarcastic, deprecating humor that I was used to in the ATL went over like a lead balloon in Knoxville - these people are pretty earnest and devout(!), and they don’t really understand or take to cynicism. It’s as if the Nineties passed them by.
Food: You won’t having problems finding restaurants in K’ville, though you will have problems finding restaurants totally out of the mainstream tastes - Knoxville might have a Thai restaurant or two, but you’ll be much better served if you’re in the mood for a bar and grill ala Ruby Tuesday’s and the like. For pizza I recommend Romans pizza on 9000 block of Kingston pike (or thereabouts) as they sell by the slice. There are also a couple of Mellow Mushrooms in town, which are pretty damn good as well.
Economy and Population: I think Knoxville is positioned for an Atlanta-esque boom, and I think that over the next 20 years we can see Knox County double or triple its current 400,000 population, and the surrounding counties (Anderson, Loudon, Blount, Sevier) accounting for 2-4 million more. The economy is well diversed with a good mix of government and private employment, the entreprenurial and small business sector is strong here, state income taxes are non-existent, and life, frankly, is pretty good in Knoxville. It’s not the most exciting town, but it’s 2-4 hours away from Cincy, Nashville, Charlotte, Louisville, Atlanta, Raleigh, and the Great Smokey Mountains.
Above is some census information regarding Knox county, TN.
Currently the Knoxville MSA ranks 62nd in the country (PDF file!, page 33).
I will admit I like it here more than my wife. I’ll see if she wants to add some info tomorrow (likely not, but I’ll try). If you have any questions I’ll be glad to answer.